Sunday, October 2, 2011

What the magic mushrooms do for you!

I had to laugh when I read this research... you think of the 'druggie' people with their laid back, all accepting attitudes... and then the research comes in: 
A single does of Psilocybin from hallucigenic mushrooms causes apparently permanent personality changes... in the direction of increased "openness." 
I Need DrugsImage via Wikipedia

It might have been good to try some cognitive functioning and processing speed tests too... but that would have been "not cool, man!"   So here's to mushrooms!  Other effects still haven't been scientifically determined, but they "open your mind, man!"  Because many people have less "openness" as they get older, this can be said to be an "anti-aging effect." 

Sometimes it really surprises me what will be researched.  This may have passed an institutional review board, but it scares me for multiple reasons.  1) it doesn't seem like other (especially cognitive) side effects were looked at, for example, can a person problem solve as well, can they think as fast, can they sustaing attention for as long, or differentiate as well?  2) what use would there be for a drug that increases "openness," except for clinicians to prescribe for people who they feel aren't open and accepting enough.  Being too open and accepting is just as bad as being too closed and rigid.  For instance, a person may become more gullible with increased openness and acceptance, or they may allow themselves to be persuaded more easily.  A person may be exposed to lots of nasty addictive things, like other/more drugs or unsafe sex, if they are too open or accepting.  3) are there any addictive properties of this drug?  Did any of the patients go out, find it on their own, and get more experience with it, or did a higher percentage of them try out other drugs than a control group? 
self made, based on information in the article...Image via Wikipedia

I think publishing articles like this may represent a step towards better understanding of possible uses of the drug, but there is very little in the articles to caution against private use. 

Gymnopilus purpuratusImage via Wikipedia
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JC said...

That's an interesting post Jeff. I enjoyed reading it.

Jeff said...

Thanks! I meant to make it shorter... but it's hard!